Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Market Gate of Miletus


The Market Gate of Miletus at the Pergamon Museum was rebuilt around 1925-1929 from hundreds of tons of fragments excavated in the ancient city of Miletus and shipped to Berlin by German archaeologists. The original gate dates back to the 2nd century AD and was at the northern entrance to the southern agora or market. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 10th or 11th centuries and suffered damages during World War II.

On each side of the center door are statues, one of which is believed to be that of Hadrian (with a vanquished slave). The columns supporting the gate are Corinthian in style and the gate itself was originally constructed from marble. However, this reconstructed gate now consists of brick, cement, steel and the fragments from the excavation.


On the floor in front of the gate is a mosaic taken from a private home in Miletus. It depicts Orpheus with his lyre. According to classical Greek mythology, Orpheus could charm all living things with his music including wild animals which are found at the base of this mosaic.  The Greek key symbol forms a frame around these beasts and winged men.


Excerpt from To Heaven*

Great Heav'n, whose mighty frame no respite knows,
Father of all, from whom the world arose:
Hear, bounteous parent, source and end of all,
Forever whirling round this earthly ball;
Abode of Gods, whose guardian pow'r surrounds
The eternal World with ever during bounds


*From the Hymns of Orpheus as translated by Thomas Taylor, 1792

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Images by Travels with Charie

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